By Dan Wing
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Efforts to bring a statue of William “Wild Bill” Guarnere to Philadelphia took another step towards becoming a reality Friday night, as a ‘Beef and Beer’ fundraiser was held at the Cannstatter to help bring in the cash needed for materials. Guarnere’s experiences in World War II were immortalized in the hit HBO series “Band of Brothers,” and organizers want to erect a statue of the South Philadelphia native to help his legacy live on.
The 8-foot tall bronze statue of Wild Bill will cost about $80,000, and organizers entered the night about half way to that goal. In addition to ticket sales a number of items were up for auction like an authentic World War II helmet autographed by “Wild Bill,” so funds should get a significant boost.
The statue’s design has already been given the necessary approvals, and local sculptor Chad Fisher is donating his time. He says he’s worked closely with the Guarnere family on the design.
“They went through a dozen, maybe two dozen different ideas for poses. How he would stand, his gesture, what they wanted to represent,” said Fisher.
Fisher has also sculpted statues of Fred Shero and Tom Gola here in the city, the later of which was just recently unveiled, but says working on a sculpture for a man like “Wild Bill” has him really excited.
“He is certainly a man who should be memorialized, and it’s an honor to do it,” he said.
Fisher says he started sculpting with his dad at the age of 7, and the 32-year-old says he’ll be working on this project by himself.
“From beginning to end, outside of a pour team, it’s just me working in the shop. It’s about at least six months,” he said.
Fisher will get started as soon as the fundraising goal is reached. Guarnere’s family and organizers of the event like Philadelphia City Councilman at Large David Oh are hoping to have the statue erected in Penn’s Landing, but an official site hasn’t been picked.
If you would like to donate to the Wild Bill Memorial Fund, you can do so on the group’s website: http://wildbillmemorial.org